Monday, January 21, 2013

When your child swallows a foreign object. Part 2

So, I've always been paranoid about my kids putting small objects in their mouths.  Pennies and dimes have always been picked up religiously.  Quarters? No, they're so big!  Not that I let them suck on them, I just didn't worry about them.  Well apparently not for my little guy's big mouth... but they're still too big to go through his pyloric valve (he's 23 mo. old).
See: When your child swallows a foreign object. (part 1)

The pyloric valve is between the stomach and the small intestine.  It regulates flow through and I think it prevents back flow.  Every 3-6 hours the stomach empties itself into the small intestine. Caleb had that quarter in there for 3 days.  So 3-5 times a day for 3 days his stomach has tried to dump that quarter out, but it wouldn't go.  We went in for another x-ray this afternoon and it hasn't moved (I pretty much knew it because that's what my metal detector keeps telling me). The doctor and the specialist figure we better get it out.  I suppose it could block the valve and prevent his stomach from emptying.  This could trigger other digestion issues (I can imagine acid reflux and a decrease in appetite at the least).

We're still waiting to get a call back from the specialist's office to make an appointment.  Then we get to drive to the big city 2 1/2 to 3 hours away.  The appointment will be scheduled first thing in the morning since he needs to fast several hours beforehand.  Talked to the hubby and we'll probably make a day of it.  This is sure one expensive quarter.

If your child swallows a coin... And they aren't vomiting, they're able to swallow (and are eating fine), they're not wheezing (means it's stuck in the airway), they're having regular bowel movements and they're not in pain;  I would use a metal detector to confirm there is something in there, to make sure it's made it to the stomach (below the rib-cage), and note the general location.  I wouldn't worry too much for a few days.  Check their stools religiously.  If you haven't found it in 3 days, then use a metal detector to confirm that it still in there (you may have missed it) and to see if it's moved down closer to the pelvis.  If it's noticeably lower I would just keep checking the stool (preferably w/ a metal detector). If the kid told you it was a quarter and you haven't seen it in 3 days and the metal detector still shows it near the middle of the abdomen, then I'd take them in for medical consultation and or x-rays.  Otherwise just keep looking for it until it passes. [If you don't feel comfortable with any of these suggestions feel free to call your doctor or the hospital if it's on the weekend].

My little sister once swallowed a necklace charm of mine.  I got the job of changing stinky diapers and examining the contents for maybe a week.  I got it back.  I washed it and sanitized it.  It was polished nice and bright from her digestive enzymes.  I still wear it on occasion. It had sentimental value beforehand and has more now.

I'll let you know how it goes.  I guess they're still a chance it could pass before we go for the procedure but who knows.  They'll take an x-ray before they do it.

We've scheduled the procedure for 8 am on Thursday.  We've got to check in at 7am... leave home at 4am.  I thought about getting a hotel, but I think we'll get better sleep in our own beds.  Then the kids can sleep in the car on the way there.

---When I mentioned the metal detector to the gal at the specialist's office she couldn't stop giggling. She thought it was hilarious yet clever.  Reminds me of when DIY Dad (just a kid I sat by in 9th-grade computer class) told me he got it for his birthday.  I guess I teased him about it. I thought it was a weird thing to ask for for your birthday. Never thought I'd be using it on our kids one day.


  1. Wow! I'm so surprised he was able to swallow a quarter! I will definetly make sure I don't leave any of those laying around either. Hopefully the procedure goes smoothly and everything goes ok...will be thinking of you guys!

  2. I'm ready for it to come out. He seems fine during the day but I think it is irritating his stomach at night. He's been waking me up several times a night lately wanting to drink milk and eat crackers. I think his stomach's trying to dump it, but it's just causing irritation.

  3. Had another x-ray this afternoon. It's still in the stomach. Leaving for the big city 4:00 am to get it scoped out. DIY daughter doesn't mind. She's going to sleep over at her friend's tonight.

  4. Hope everything is goes okay for your little guy this morning! Will be praying for you.

  5. We got the quarter back. In case you're wondering the procedure was $1500 (luckily before insurance). We're not sure if that included anesthesia and we haven't been billed for the ER visit or the 3 x-rays yet. Keep your money away from the tots, especially the quarters! He did about as well as you could expect. He hated the gown he had to wear and he was livid when he woke up with an IV strapped to his arm. He was hoarse from screaming when he awoke but he throat was not harmed by the procedure. Procedure was at 8 and he seemed back to his old self by 11.

  6. Yeah, it would've been much cheaper if he could've passed it. I'm just glad it's over and he recently got over his trusting other adults (after we let the nice nurse wheel him away in an awesome wagon... on the way to the procedure). He finally let us leave him in nursery on Sunday. He even went for his 2yr well-child visit on Wed. and didn't enjoy it but did fine.


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